After seeing his team being held to a 1-1 draw by Musanze in the Azam Rwanda Premier League on Wednesday, APR FC coach Jimmy Mulisa has admitted that the race for the title is becoming tighter than it has ever been.
The draw at Kigali Stadium kept the record 16-time national league champions in third position on the table with 17 points- three points behind leaders SC Kiyovu. AS Kigali are second on the table with 18 points.
Defending champions, Rayon Sports are in fifth place with 15 points same as Sunrise, Police FC and Mukura Victory Sports.
With the draw, Musanze FC stayed in 14th place with 9 points, one above the bottom two sides, Miroplast and Espoir, while Amagaju FC jumped to tenth place with 10 points after thrashing Gicumbi 4-1 on Wednesday.
After match day 10 fixtures, the league takes a break and will resume after 2018 African Nations
Championship (CHAN) finals in Morocco scheduled to run from January 12 through February 4.
APR took the lead through attacking midfielder Muhadjir Hakizimana with a stunning goal in the 52nd
minute off Emmanuel Imanishimwe's assist, but Musanze equalised in the 83rd minute through forward Wai Yeka from the spot kick after substitute Obed Imurora was fouled in danger zone by goalie Steven Ntalibi.
"It is not a good result for us because we wanted to catch up with the top teams but one mistake cost us.
In football many things happen, we played better, but the goalkeeper made a mistake at the end, which cost us three points," Mulisa said after his team's fifth draw in 10 league matches.
APR had a chance to win the game in the last minute, but both Helve Rugwiro and Issa Bigirimana saw their attempts come off the crossbar and post respectively.
Former APR forward Mulisa noted that, "We have drawn five matches but in all these matches, we have created about six to seven chances to score but sometimes we end up scoring just one goal."
"Our striking department is not good enough, that is the truth. We're going for a break and I am going to work especially with the strikers to see that we improve before the league resumes. It is my responsibility to build the players' attitude and confidence to win matches. We have been unlucky today," he stated.
Mulisa further admitted that, "All teams are doing well and stronger than before, you see that teams are going into a very match looking to win. It's still early but it is clear that the league is proving to be tighter than we have seen in so many years."
At this stage last season, APR had 24 points.
Five points separate the top team and the team in 7th place, Sunrise FC, who have the same number of points with fourth-placed Rayon Sports, Police FC (5th) and Mukura (6th).
At the bottom of the table, things are a lot tighter, with Amagaju in 10th and bottom side Espoir, and in between them, three teams; Kirehe (11th), Bugesera (12th) and Gicumbi FC (13th), are tied on 10 points each.
Team PD W D L Pts
SC Kiyovu 10 6 2 2 20
AS Kigali 10 5 3 2 18
APR FC 10 4 5 1 17
Rayon 9 4 3 2 15
Mukura 10 3 6 1 15
Police FC 10 4 3 3 15
Sunrise 10 4 3 3 15
Etincelles 10 3 5 2 13
Marines 9 3 3 3 12
Amagaju 10 3 2 5 11
Kirehe Fc 10 3 1 6 10
Bugesera 10 2 4 4 10
Gicumbi 10 3 1 6 10
Musanze 8 2 3 3 9
Miroplast 9 1 5 3 8
Espoir 10 1 5 4 8
APR FC 1-1 Musanze
Gicumbi 1-4 Amagaju